The Santa Barbara Zoo has a new Masai Giraffe calf. The female arrived on March 14, measuring 6’1” tall and weighing-in at 180 pounds. The Zoo reports that the calf and her mom, Audrey, will stay safely tucked away in the Giraffe Barn until animal care staff determines that she’s ready to venture out on exhibit.
In the mean time, the Santa Barbara Zoo has partnered with their local television station, KEYT NewsChannel 3, to host a naming contest for the female calf. Four names were pre-selected by the Hutton Parker Foundation and the Zoo’s giraffe team, but they are leaving the final decision up to the public. Visit the Zoo’s website to cast your vote: https://sbzoo.pivvit.com/name-audreys-giraffe-calf
The Masai Giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis tippelskirchi) is the largest subspecies of giraffe and is native to East Africa, particularly central and southern Kenya and Tanzania.
The species is classified as “Vulnerable” by the IUCN, and the Masai Giraffe population is reported to have declined by 52% in recent decades, mainly due to poaching.
As an AZA-accredited institution, the Santa Barbara Zoo participates in what’s called the Species Survival Plan for Masai Giraffes – which makes every giraffe calf born at the Zoo exceptionally important. Through this cooperative program, the calves born all serve a significant role: to help keep their species alive. Thanks to their father, Michael, they all carry rare and valuable genes that are vital to keeping the Masai Giraffe population genetically diverse and healthy.